Thursday, December 4, 2008


Ruth Garvin met my brother, Paul, in October of 2007. It's somewhat of a remarkable story. You see my OTHER brother, Mark, and his wife, Sherry, live in a wonderful home on Vashon Island. They are experts in 'good times' so Wade and I wanted to take our friends to their place for the weekend.

Paul was early in the process of planning Equinoxe. He and his partner, Paige, were planning to be in Seattle during the time we were planning our weekend. Paige and Paul were making a presentation to an organization in hopes to procure funding for Equinoxe.

Realizing that our time on Vashon would coincide with Paul's visit I began to e-mail introductions to him so that he would know Jojo, Joe and Ruth when we all arrived.

In my e-mail I gave a brief description, explaining our relationship with each of them and what they did for a living. It wasn't until I received a return e-mail from Paul that I realized what 'providence' had done: Paul needed an expert in the coffee business. Ruth fit that order to a T.

Ruth used to own several coffee shops in the Portland area: Pappachinos.

Equinoxe was going to start out at a cafe, serving coffee and pastries and the like. Ruth had wanted to do something outside of the norm and was looking for a cross-cultural opportunity to share her skills.

When the two of them met it was like magic. Not only did they get along, but each of them were symbiotic. It was pretty amazing.

Last February Ruth made her journey to Mauritania. Her bags were filled with coffee, cups, lids, hot pots, etc....

Ruth trained Paul and the Equinoxe staff to make coffee - espresso - lattes. At the time coffee and coffee shop faire was the focus. Nearly a year later things have certainly expanded.

We will be taking coffee with us. Peter Miller is donating 30 pounds of coffee from Caravan Coffee in Newberg.

Ruth contacted her friends at Longbottom Coffee. They are donating 50 pounds.

It's interesting to see the similarities in the two companies. While Longbottom articulates their mission more clearly both establishments clearly value the environment and the local farmer's perspective.

Directly from Longbottom's website: "We service many different types of coffee-based businesses, from full service coffee bars, espresso carts, specialty shops, caterers and drive-thrus, to restaurants and offices across the United States. We pride ourselves on first class service, unsurpassed quality and people who are truly committed to your success."

Both coffee establishments like helping other businesses succeed in their own endeavors. Caravan boasts: "Local coffee purveyors started coming to us asking for us to help them create a proprietary blend to set them apart from others. And the word spread to where we now service coffee retailers from coast to coast."

So Ruth will find herself full circle - going back to Equinoxe to see the fruits of her labor. And she won't be alone. Just like a good cup of coffee is best when shared with a friend - so goes our journey.

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